AMD’s 16.3 Driver Improves Performance, Fixes “Downclocking” Issue, Adds Vulkan Support

By | March 10, 2016

AMD has released its version 16.3 Crimson Driver. On the Fury X, the driver improves performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider by 16%, and Gears of War Ultimate Edition by 60%.  On the r9 380/380x, Gears of War Ultimate Edition performs 44% better.

In previous driver versions, many users of the r9 300/Fury series GPUs have reported issues where their GPU’s core clock speed falls below its maximum while playing games. This may cause stutter or poor frame rates in games. On Fiji based cards(Fury, Fury X, Fury Nano), it also caused issues with visual corruption when under low load(such as when browsing the web or viewing email). This resulted from AMD’s power efficiency technology called Powertune, which dynamically adjusts core clock speed based on GPU load, to reduce power usage when it is not needed. Unfortunately, it sometimes makes mistakes, resulting in poor performance or visual glitches. The good news is AMD’s new 16.3 driver allows you to turn off this power saving “feature” in the settings. Users no longer have to download third party programs to resolve this issue, as AMD now provides the option within their own graphics settings. Turning off the power efficiency settings will increase fan noise, temperatures, and power consumption when under partial load, but it may also fix performance issues as well as visual corruption on the Fury series of GPUs.

According to the release notes, the driver also includes support for Vulkan, an open source, cross platform, low-level graphics API that provides much of the functionality offered by Directx12 such as efficient draw calls across multiple threads, but compatible with other operating systems such as Linux or Mac. For more information on Vulkan, visit https://www.khronos.org/vulkan/.

Other features include:

  • Ability to use Eyefinity with only 2 displays
  • Ability to edit display scaling settings on a per-game basis(rather than just a global setting)
  • Support for external GPUs on specific laptops, through a thunderbolt/USB-C connection

The full release notes and download can be viewed on AMD’s site: http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/AMD_Radeon_Software_Crimson_Edition_16.3.aspx